Monday, 31 December 2012

A River Runs Through It (Hence the Bridge) No.2

As with many developments, it is all well and good to complete the basic engineering design work, but the visual impact of any new structure imposed on the environment has to be taken into account and completed to a minimum standard at the very least (otherwise local planning authorities and NIMBYs get upset).  Here, therefore, is the finished bridge I started here, with some Magister Militum (formerly Chariot) 15mm Paphlagonian light horse for scale.
The first thing I did was to create the low culvert under the bridge using a small flat rounded file, and then texture the whole structure with fine sand glued on with PVA.  I also added some coarser sand to the river edges after priming them with a sandy colour to match my other river sections.
Once dry I gave the bridge a light going over with a stiff paintbrush to remove loose grains and undercoated it with a brown emulsion called Raw Earth (from a Fired Earth tester pot).
The bridge was then finished with a heavy dry brushing of off-white emulsion on the walls and parapets and a sandy colour I use for all my desert terrain on the road.  Once dry everthing was lightly drybrushed with white acrylic, and Javis-type static grass was added to the river banks.
My river sections and a bridge are now complete and two new projects have arisen as a consequence.  One is to make some road sections to lead to the bridge and the other is that I really should get around to rebasing my 500pt Lydian army, but it makes me tired just thinking about that...

...oh, and to any regular readers (I think there might be a few) a richt guid New Year tae ye, and hopefully we will all get more time to work on even more interesting and rewarding projects in 2013.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

A River Runs Through It (Hence the Bridge) No.1

After making some river sections (here and here) and marsh using some spare bits of lino, I thought a bridge was needed as well.  As my 15mm DBM/DBA focus is (currently) on Asia Minor (Lydians, mainly) I thought some sort of Turkish or eastern bridge would be appropriate.  Actually, I was thinking about the bridge at Mostar in Bosnia (since rebuilt after being destroyed by the Croats during the breakup of Yugoslavia).
However, let's be honest, it would be a bit ambitious to make a replica of this, particularly as it would be far too high and dominate a 15mm DBA board.  So, I went with something a lot simpler (and lower) and built a low bridge (about 28mm to the highest point of the parapet and carrying a 40mm wide road across it.

The first phase was to construct the base and this was made from a short section of lino 40mm wide stuck (with PVA) on top of an old business card.  It's placed next to a section of river I'd already made, for context.
I then added some sections of balsa I had lying about to give it some strength and structure and so that I would have something to attach the sides and roadway to.  I sanded the top section a bit so that it sloped down on both sides.
The sides, made from the sheet polystyrene you get with supermarket pizzas (cut to shape, obviously), were attached with PVA.  You can see I went for the triangular profile vaguely reminiscent of the Mostar bridge.
I then added the road sections which again are made from sheet polystyrene (i.e. poor man's foamboard).
As you can see the road rises less steeply than the parapet, which is always important if you don't want your troops struggling to get over it.  Right, must get around to decorating it (see next post) assuming I can survive Christmas.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Turkish Recycling

As I mentioned in an earlier post I have just been in Ankara, which I was visiting on business (it’s not really a tourist trap).  Ankara is a sprawling city with evidently lax planning controls and was a provincial backwater until Mustapha Kemal Atatürk came to power in the 1920s in the process winning the war of independence (1919-1923).  This was a varied conflict pitting the nascent Turkish Republic against the occupying Greeks, French, Italians, British and Armenians who had carved up the Ottoman Empire and Turkey itself after the end of the Great War.  It’s not a conflict I’ve ever seen wargamed (possibly because of such incidents as the Smyrna/Izmir Catastrophe/Massacre). 
Smoggy view of Ankara from the Citadel - nothing to stop you falling off!
Anyway, Ankara has been settled since Hittite times (actually before that, by the Hatti - which always reminds me of Carry on Matron, etc.) and the Hittite capital of Hattusha is not that far away.   The subsequent occupants and rulers read a bit like a name check through the DBA army lists comprising Phrygians, Lydians, Persians, Alexander the Great, Antigonus, Galatians, Romans, Goths, Arabs, Byzantines, Seljuks and Ottomans.  The city has grown massively since the 1920s and what remains of the old town is clustered around the remains of a fortress, known as the Citadel, at the top of the highest hill in the city.
Ankara Old Town - being restored or demolished, it's not entirely clear.
The origins of the current Ankara citadel are ancient but what remains is the work of the Seljuks and the Ottomans.  It is quite run down now and the HSE would have a fit if it saw the massive drops all around and nothing to stop you falling off.  Still, I survived.

Part of the Citadel with the Minaret of the Alaaddin Mosque (built in 1178)
What I did find of interest was how stones evidently sourced from previous buildings had been incorporated into the defences and how this affected the appearance of the structures.  What was clear was that generally the lower parts of the walls were of larger and older stones whereas the upper sections were made of brick.
What was particularly interesting to me was to try and make out where the stones had come from and it was obvious that the Turks had re-used stones from a variety of sources including previous Roman and Byzantine buildings.
What did the Romans ever do for us (and the Turks?)
You can see in this picture a row of matching stones from what looks like a Roman building and they have been arranged to make a more or less straight line.  Many of the stones obviously came from important buildings and you can still see the inscriptions on them, although it appears that whoever built the wall couldn't understand any more Latin than I can, as many of the stones are the wrong way up.
Upside down Roman inscription with later Christrian symbol (carved the right way up).
Some of the stones actually have quite detailed inscriptions on them, such as these in Greek and therefore presumably from the Byzantine period.
Greek inscriptions in Citadel wall.
Overall, I thought that it was interesting to see how previous materials had been re-used and therefore how these affected the appearance of the walls.  Clearly this would have been common practice in this part of the world and if ever I get around to modelling Ottoman defences then I know that a uniform appearance is probably the last thing to aim for.